How To Get A Sound Out Of A Saxophone

How to get a sound out of a saxophone: If you’ve managed to assemble the mouthpiece, no doubt you’ll want to get playing the sax.

Sometimes making that first sound out of the mouthpiece might not be as easy as it seems.

Don’t worry.  Some people get it first time, most people need a few goes at it before they can make a sound.

The first tip I have is put the sax down.  Just use the mouthpiece.  Having the whole saxophone just complicates things.  Let’s make things simple.  Once you get a sound out of just the mouthpiece, you can add the rest of the sax and do the same thing and “ta da” it will work.

Getting a sound requires a bit of experimenting.  Once you’ve got it though, it will become second nature.

The reed goes on the bottom and the mouthpiece goes at the top.  If you have it the other way around you’ll need to point the mouthpiece way up and it will feel very weird.  If it was this way then the sax would be to high and you wouldn’t be able to see in front of you.  Marching bands would be walking into each other and the camera wouldn’t be able to see your face on stage.  On the plus side, you could say “that’s me on stage” and people might not question it.

The teeth go on top of the mouthpiece.  Some people use a small rubber patch to minimize vibration.  I’ve found them not to be necessary if you mouth is on the mouthpiece correctly.  If you have a rubber patch, try playing with it and try playing without it.  Choose on or off, depending on which feels best for you.

The bottom lip goes over the bottom teeth.  This is important because if your teeth are on the reed, you will feel a lot of vibration in your mouth, but more importantly, you’ll have less control over the sounds you can make.

Let’s look at how the mouthpiece works. The end of the reed needs to vibrate against the end of the mouthpiece.  You blowing into the mouthpiece needs to facilitate that.

The mouthpiece needs to be at an angle of about 45 degrees to allow the air to flow naturally.

You don’t want too much mouthpiece in your mouth.  Aside from looking a bit silly, it won’t work the way you want it to.  You don’t want too little of the mouthpiece in your mouth.  That will just close the reed against the mouthpiece and it won’t vibrate.  Too much is too much and too little is too little.  But just right is just right.

Spend a few minutes experimenting, listening and feeling how things work for you.  Put too much mouthpiece in.  Put too little mouthpiece in.  Point the mouthpiece up.  Point the mouthpiece down.  You’ll find that sweet spot that is just right and you’ll get it right every time.

Once you’ve got the sound out of the mouthpiece, play with it a bit.  See if you can make the sound higher.  See if you can make the sound lower. 

When you’ve found what works for you, to get a sound out of a saxophone, just add the rest of the saxophone.  You’ll be able to make a more sax sounding sound than you might have done before.